But what is “right to work” and why are Republicans so determined to pass it? Briefly, these laws say that union members have to pay the costs of representing their coworkers who choose not to join a union. (Less briefly here.) Under federal law, no one can ever be made to join a union, but in states without so-called “right to work” laws, if there’s a union bargaining contracts for you and representing you in grievances, you have to pay a “fair share” or representation fee to cover those costs. What Indiana and New Hampshire Republicans want to do is to allow non-union members to be free riders, getting the representation their union coworkers pay for. Dean Baker bluntly describes this as an added tax on union membership.